• Rain could have final say

    The weather may play a role in the outcome of Saturday’s Cricket World Cup match between South Africa and Pakistan in Auckland.

    New Zealand’s MetService is predicting some heavy rain showers during the afternoon.

    Should the worst happen and the day-night game is washed out, Pakistan might be glad to accept a point given South Africa’s recent form. In each of the last two games, against the West Indies and Ireland, South Africa has scored more than 400 runs and won by more than 200.

    Pakistan’s form has been far less assured. After losing their first two games against India and the West Indies, the 1992 champions have got their campaign back on track with wins over Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates.

    There’s been only one washout in the tournament so far, the match between four-time champion Australia and Bangladesh in Brisbane. But as the World Cup progresses into the Southern Hemisphere autumn, it could become more of a concern.

    South Africa coach Russell Domingo said his squad needs to be ready for anything against Pakistan.

    ‘We know that they can beat anybody on their day,” he said. ‘We need to prepare really well and we need to make sure we respect the opposition and make sure we go through our processes really well over the next couple of days because their strength lies in the predictability of their unpredictability.’

    He said it would be nice to bat second and chase a total, noting that Pakistan has had difficulty chasing down runs at the tournament.

    Domingo said he was taking a cautious approach regarding the fitness of bowler Vernon Philander.

    ‘We need to just make sure Vernon is 100 percent ready to go because, a hamstring strain, we need to be careful about that with the important stage of the competition still to come.’

    Domingo said all-rounder JP Duminy should be fit to play, and added that he wasn’t concerned about Quinton de Kock’s run of low scores, saying he was a match winner and runs would likely come soon. – AP